5 Photos, 5 Stories, Day 4

Pauline of ‘Memories are Made of This’ has nominated me to do the 5 photos, 5 stories. So my intention its to stick to a self-imposed theme of ‘a sense of place’, and see how I can interpret this in different ways.

Today, I am using a photograph from my recent trip to Sicily to illustrate one of my great loves. From an early age, I was fascinated by ruins. As a teenager, I was given a copy of Dame Rose Macaulay’s ‘Pleasure of Ruins’. It was illustrated with photographs, and I was transfixed. I guess have always preferred my ruins unrestored, preferably a little overgrown and appearing inaccessible…. but rarely have I ticked all these boxes!

Here is an extract (incomplete) from the book:

‘…The “entetement de I’antiquitt” possessed all, or nearly all, these classical and romantic travellers. Like Chateaubriand (who was never in Sicily) they gazed on ruins by moonlight, deriving from the silence of vanished cities a delicious melancholy. Some ruins, such as the Temple of Concord at Agrigentum, they found too well kept to please; they preferred disorder, thrown columns, roots and shrubs and flowers thrusting up between the stones, thistles, nettles, hellebore and bindweed, snakes and lizards, adders on the one-time altars, …….

…. They adored most of all the grand desolation of Selinunte; painters and poets and travel- writers found something sublime in so many gigantic pillars so completely upset. Not yet were the temples labelled alphabetically; all was confusion, a huge destruction entwined with wild vines, ivy, figs, rhododendron…..

…..Gregorovius, returning to Selinunte in 1886, after thirty years, was vexed by its tidied, excavated appearance. In 1853 the ruins still were beautifully desolate in the wilderness, grown with shrubs and palms and full of those spotted snakes so dear to ruin-lovers. In 1886 “the excavator, at war with the savagery of nature, is again victorious, and as almost everywhere in the classic ruins which learning has recovered, the poetry of these ruins has been utterly destroyed. Instead of vegetation dothing the overthrown temples . . . burying the ruined splendour under flowers, the artistic or poetic feeling of travellers sees with sorrow only bare cleansed architraves, metopes, triglyphs . . . and it only requires numbers or kbels on the blocks to persuade him that he has before him a well-arranged archaeological museum.’  Pleasure of Ruins, 1953, Rose Macaulay (pub Thames & Hudson)

So well before my time, travellers wanted their ruins untouched! This image I took recently has, I hope, some of these sentiments.

Classical ruins at Selinunte, Sicily

Classical ruins at Selinunte, Sicily

And now I need to fulfil the second part of this challenge, and invite another blogger to take part. Today I would like to nominate the very artistic Suzanne of Art and Life, who writes great poetry in the form of Haiku, or as Haibun (poetry and prose). I know she is a busy lady, and may not have time but I hope there’s no harm in asking…

There’s no obligation, Suzanne  – have fun if you have time/want to join in!

The challenge is to just “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.







  1. All fall down… lovely composition Sue, I really love the classical column on the right.

  2. No arguments from me, those ruins are most definitely not restored!
    Best wishes, Pete.

  3. You seem to have covered a big area in Sicily Sue, did you hire a car? We did but stayed around the Etna area.

  4. Fascinating capture… 🙂

  5. Fabulous pic of these ruins, Sue, and so authentic. 🙂

  6. I find it fascinating what we learned as children (so often form books) that sticks with us into old age. Great photo. Good story.

  7. Suzanne

    I really like this photo Sue. It really captures that sense of being overwhelmed by the past when visiting ruining. Thanks for nominating me to do the challenge – it’s quite a challenge. I do like your theme of sense of place and am tempted to use it too if that’s ok with you. Let me know what you think of that idea, please.

  8. Great images …. some history that lays there … and some stories that could be told.

  9. What a great heap of rubble, Sue! (excuse my irreverence 🙂 )

  10. I love classical rubble!! Wonderful post Sue!

  11. Shot from that angle is so impressive. “all was confusion, a huge destruction” that fits it so well…

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